• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

My unbending mind, which is set on college — that’s always a feisty topic, when someone tells me it’ll be too hard or too expensive. Don’t be surprised if I reach across the table and smack you at dinner. Because college is what I live for. My mentality stems from Grandmother.

She is the only known human being whose eye contact is more piercing than my own. She’s strong, 83 years young. She and my grandfather both were born and raised through the Great Depression in none other than the Dust Bowl. In the state of Nebraska, she had dental-hygiene license number one. Yes, the first one. She and Grandfather moved to San Diego in the mid-1950s. They spent many years walking their doberman in Ocean Beach. Now, it has come down to neighborhood walks, where they stop at Einstein Bros off Sixth.

It has been almost two years since my last car accident, and I am such a tightwad I refuse to get the little nick below my headlight repaired. Life of a college student is to blame, and the genetic traits I believe I inherited; 40 percent of our intelligence is probably inherited. To me, money has no value, only when used to pay for college and gas. Four dollars and change per gallon, all day every day.

Two-thousand-twelve seems to be the Year of the Ticket. Moving violations and citations are my new thing.

Whoop-whoop, sang the sirens.

Sometimes, I wonder if they ever feel guilty for pulling over a broke college student whose car is falling apart.

Improper use of the seat belt — nice. Two tickets in 14 days. The first one was for talking on speaker-phone while I was driving.

I really don’t enjoy being nannied. My car continuously has stalling problems and other nonsense I have to find funds for. Let’s just add a ticket or two to my tab.

The 163 area is riddled with bad drivers. People who forget the use of a blinker. That hasn’t changed since 2004, when gas was approximately two dollars and ten cents a gallon.

My father, my dog Coco, and I once left our mark on the center divider in front of Fashion Valley. We were driving back to Bankers Hill from a night of the teenager Nazi regime — gymnastics, that is. Five hours of brutal workouts. For me, it was routine.

Just like the car accidents I found my life stumbling against, routine. I saw the lights from Fashion Valley Mall spin slower and slower as my father’s eyes got larger and larger. As quickly as that Chrysler came, it was gone.

My dog hit the dashboard. Coco was shaking, I was not. Lying back on the doctor’s table, my vision turned to orange. Shards of glass afflicted my retina. My eyeball was intact, my stability was not.

I acknowledge the fact that my young years were far from perfect.

We knew we were in love when he stroked the guitar for me for the first time. He gave me a slight smile out of the side of his mouth. Right then and there, I was as good as gone. He left a week after we marveled about our infatuation. Standing on the Ocean Beach Pier, we saw a seal. The ocean so green, the weather so pure, the love so bold. We were creative and in tune. All along the watchtower, I must wait for his return.

The military sure puts up a stiff fight for successful relationships.

This wonderful grandmother of mine talks to me about how her loving husband’s personality is beginning to change. She asks if I have noticed, and I say, “Of course.” During our frequent dinners, he sits in his chair with nothing more than the scrapes from his silverware against the plate coming from his direction. I cannot help but let my heart break for my grandmother, over the man she loves. His memory is fading, quicker and quicker. We sit and play gin rummy. I find hope and love in his silent presence. I want to soak in his knowledge and remember everything he’s said in the past and cherish it. Love it. Remember it.

Alyssa A'Bell interview

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


Carolann Feb. 11, 2013 @ 9:47 a.m.

I don't know if it's just because I'm reading this story so early in the morning and not really comprehending the "flow", but it seems to be a tad bit all over the place and I'm just not getting it. Maybe it's just me?


skyrunz Feb. 12, 2013 @ 9:15 a.m.

I really liked your story. It seemed like a steady stream of your thoughts placed on a page. Keep going to school and never give up on what is important to you in life. You've got a talent for telling a story and I hope to see more from you in the future.



mujersincabeza Feb. 12, 2013 @ 5:41 p.m.

This story, much like many stories gracing the cover of the San Diego Reader, was SUCH a disappointment! The inability of the writer to keep her thoughts straight and coherent was upsetting. The writer was all over the place. I wanted to yell out to the universe, "Who cares! This doesn't make sense. Has anyone at this paper taken a critical writing course in college?" The only thing this article proved to me is that the drivers in San Diego are horrible! Some of the worst. In this situation, why are we allowing people like this on the road. As a biker, I am scared to share the road with these shameful drivers. (On another note: Come on SD, let's get progressive & change the biking laws like Los Angeles did). This article just proved to me why I stop reading this paper, even if it is "free". I keep telling myself, just give the San Diego Reader another chance. However, everytime I pick up this weekly paper, I am ALWAYS let down! Has anyone at this paper EVER picked up a LA Weekly, my goodness I miss LA. Please stop disappointing me San Diego Reader and get some real in depth articles about this wonderful city,


Steve916 Feb. 20, 2013 @ 2:11 p.m.

I was very disappointed in this "cover story" - it felt like a rejected Creative Writing 101 piece that was submitted to the SD Reader. To the writer - hope you got paid well, since you really need to work on story structure.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!